Kelly: Trump’s ‘rigged’ rhetoric is dangerous

Courtesy+photo+-+AP

AP

Courtesy photo - AP

With two weeks until Election Day, there is no guarantee that the grueling 2016 presidential election cycle will finish making headlines on November 8.  Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has fallen steadily in the polls during the last month, continues to publically raise concerns that the election results will be “rigged” against him.

The issue came to a head at the final presidential debate last Wednesday in Las Vegas when Trump refused to unconditionally accept the results of the election.

“I will look at it at the time,” Trump said.

When pressed by moderator Chris Wallace to clarify, Trump continued: “I will keep you in suspense.”

The peaceful transition of power is a staple of American government. No matter how hard-fought an election may be, the gracious concession of the losing candidate has always helped to re-unify a divided nation.

Since the debate, Trump has not backed down on his conspiracy-driven claims. Though he has promised to accept “a clear election result” with no foul play, he continues to toy with the idea that he is not ready to willingly concede.

“I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win,” Trump said to a roaring crowd in Ohio.

For months, the Republican nominee dropped hints that the election will be rigged, but in the final days of the campaign, his claims could carry a potentially dangerous amount of weight.

If Trump loses on Election Day and refuses to gracefully accept defeat, the country could be thrown into a state of turmoil with his disenfranchised supporters questioning the legitimacy of the vote —  our democracy’s most essential element.

From media bias to widespread voter fraud, Trump has a wealth of ideas about what could ultimately hand Hillary Clinton the election. At this point, trailing by double digits in some polls, it appears the businessman might just be looking for an out.

Donald Trump considers himself a “winner.”  His brash and bold mannerisms have helped him succeed in many facets of his career. For him, losing the election would not only be a personal embarrassment, but it could undermine the essence of the Trump brand he has worked so hard to cultivate.

If Trump loses, the question will be whether or not he is willing to compromise the structural integrity of the nation’s government to protect his own ego.  For the sake of the country, one can only hope not.

Reputable studies have shown that voters are less likely to turn out to an election if they think it is rigged, so Trump needs a new line of attack if he is still invested in winning and not simply finding someone to blame.

Despite the Clinton-friendly poll numbers, the election outcome is no way decided. Too many times during the course of the long campaign season, pundits have counted Trump out of the race only to see him come back into contention.

This presidential election has been an anomaly in many ways, but both candidates should be prepared to accept or concede the presidency based on the empirical vote result.  A polarized America desperately needs to come together and rally behind the winner come Nov. 9.